Mourning Fading Dreams

At first, it was a wedding
a chuppah raised high
family and friends dancing
a dress of white
the sound of breaking glass
we were willing to wait
but waiting wasn’t enough

slowly, that dream faded
I cried only a little
feeling selfish
I had love
and others did not
we wed simply on a beach
beautiful flowers still smelled sweet
the rain stopped long enough

Then, it was a baby
eyes like his or her father
a tiny hand grasping his finger
dark brown
there would be a bris or naming
the grandparents would smile

My belly remained empty
waiting for it all to be complete
it wasn’t right or fair
to bring another soul into this
I was ashamed to grieve
weren’t my own two enough?
he loved them as his own
wrinkles began to grow
my forehead had frowned too much

Next, it was a bar mitzvah
my son finally accepted
he’d read from the Torah
we’d throw candy
he’d beam with pride
the Rabbi would embrace him
just another young Jewish man
taking on the weight of tradition

My son became a man without fanfare
his studies didn’t pause for candy
I cried on his behalf
only when he wasn’t looking
frowning, he watches other bar mitzvahs
boys younger than him casually take aliyahs
he quietly puts their Chumashim over their Siddurs
as they walk to the bima

Now it is a bat mitzvah
there’s not much hope remaining
she wants a pretty dress
a cake with fancy frosting
Do I tell her there is no party?
I think she already knows
I avoid making plans
she stops asking

My eyes dim as I look ahead
I still have hopes for my children
For me?
There’s just a burial plot left
I still hope to earn it
as I hope my days as a Jew
might outnumber the days I waited

Yet…I’m waiting still.

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